He is the hard-working and reliable pillar of Little Baguio, one of the most thriving barangays of the city of San Juan, Philippines. This June, get to know him beyond barangay projects, campaign sorties and crisis management and we see how deeply personal his relationship is with the city.
Allen Silvano is known for his warm personality: his devotion to family, loyalty to friends and dedication to constituents is apparent in the beaming smile and buoyant stride. A lesser known facet about him lies in his close ties to the city he grew up in: San Juan.
When asked about his favorite childhood memories, Allen shares images only a little boy would enjoy: “The [now defunct] Chew Chew Junction which is a restaurant in Greenhills; it was designed [with the look and feel] of a train. I also remember the time when Dunkin’ Donuts would give free doughnuts at 8 pm. Kids would really show up [at the corner of Ortigas and Club Filipino Ave].”
By the time Allen talks about hanging out with his Xavier barkada in the old Virramall (now remodeled as VMall) every Wednesday (“half day kasi kapag Wednesday noon sa Xavier“), one begins to sense how San Juan is an indelible part of him. His childhood and teenage years were pleasant days and they also reflect the homey vibe of the city.
Allen also named the famous Aling Banang’s as his favorite hang-out – and with the restaurant’s delicious pancit malabon and tapsilog, it comes as no surprise. He stresses though that he also appreciates how a wide range of people – from the lower to upper-middle class – flock to Aling Banang’s for a quick fix of Filipino favorites.
As barangay captain, Allen may also be at the helm of what has been dubbed “a city of excellence” when San Juan was awarded the Top Performing Highly Urbanized City in the Philippines in 2011. With its penchant for business (the world famous tiangge in Greenhills) and celebration of cultural pursuits (among them, the San Juan Wattah Wattah festival), Allen believes that San Juan is a must-see for the tourists. But more than the tangible highlights, Allen stresses the importance of San Juan’s history and its link to the country’s past.
The Battle of Pinaglabanan, he muses, was especially important. “The Filipinos planned to take over El Deposito (water reservoir) which provided water in Manila and El Polvorin (gunpowder and ammunition) of the Spaniards – which were both in San Juan,” he explains. What came to be known as the Battle of San Juan del Monte (Pinaglabanan) is widely considered to be the first battle of the Philippine Revolution. Allen sums it up by quoting a favorite San Juan motto, “Walang kalayaan kung walang Pinaglabanan.”
And so Allen Silvano proves that he is truly born and bred a son of San Juan – from his childhood to his calling to be one of its leaders. His pride in its history mingles with his joy in the city’s modernization – and in that we see the essence of San Juan’s mix of tradition and innovation.